Big Ten: fantasy league 2011

Last year, our Big Ten fantasy league turned out to be an anti-climactic clobbering in favor of my team, Non-Gingervitis. This year, we should have an exciting race to the finish line.

Rittenberg's Trombone Shorties eked out a 120-109 victory to tie up our season series 5-5 with three weeks left to play. Who will end the year strong and claim the coveted fantasy title?

Adam got two huge performances last week from Nebraska's Taylor Martinez (46 fantasy points) and Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell (30 ), plus another 21 from Penn State's Matt McGloin. I got 30 points from Braxton Miller and 31 from his Ohio State teammate Carlos Hyde, and my waiver-wire pickups of Iowa's Damon Bullock (16) and Purdue's Antavian Edison (15) worked out pretty well. But I was killed by Denard Robinson not playing at Minnesota despite Michigan coach Brady Hoke saying all week that Robinson was fine. Even a subpar game from Shoelace would have been enough to put me over the top. Not that I'm bitter. (Hoke!!!!)

My team has some serious decisions to make this week with Ohio State on a bye and Robinson again questionable. Do I gut my roster and go for the win this week but risk losing studs like Miller, Hyde and Robinson on waivers? Or do I ride out the storm and hope to finish with back-to-back wins in Week 12 and 13 for a narrow victory?

Let's find out. I'm up first with this week's pickups:

Brian adds Wisconsin running back Montee Ball and drops Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde

Rationale: Hyde has been terrific the past several weeks, but he can't help me versus Idle. So I'll happily welcome back Ball to my team so we can relive our championship memories from 2011 -- and hopefully create some new ones if he can steamroll Indiana's defense.

Adam adds Northwestern running back Venric Mark and drops Michigan State running back Le'Veon Bell

Rationale: Bell is off this week, and while Mark faces a formidable Michigan defense, the Wolverines are better against the pass than the run, and Mark is good for at least one big play a week, either on offense or on special teams. He'll be a factor Saturday.

Brian adds Indiana wide receiver Cody Latimer and drops Ohio State wide receiver/tight end Jake Stoneburner

Rationale: My hunch on Stoneburner didn't pay off last week as he failed to score any points, and Ohio State is off this week. So I'll give Latimer a shot after his three-touchdown performance last week versus Iowa.

Adam adds Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah and drops Indiana running back Stephen Houston

Rationale: Maybe I'm a bit too Husker-heavy this week, but Abdullah has done an excellent job filling in for Rex Burkhead, and he has recorded three straight 100-yard rushing performances. With Penn State defensive tackle Jordan Hill banged up, I think Abdullah plays well again Saturday.

Brian adds Iowa's defense and drops Penn State's defense

Rationale: Nothing against the Nittany Lions, but playing on the road against the conference's top offense is not a good fantasy formula. I'll roll the dice with the up-and-down Hawkeyes, who get a badly struggling Purdue team at home.

Adam adds Minnesota's defense and drops Ohio State's defense

Rationale: Ohio State is off this week, and this pickup has a little more to do with Illinois' offensive ineptitude than anything else. Minnesota's defense has been better, though, especially against the pass, and I expect the Gophers to force some takeaways in Champaign, where they've been very good as of late.

Brian adds Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter and drops Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson

Rationale: And there's the risky move. I already have Miller on a bye and refuse to drop the fantasy MVP. I don't like the vibes coming out of Ann Arbor, where Hoke still won't say whether Robinson will play this week. I can't risk not having any quarterbacks this week, so even though I don't love Colter's matchup on the road at Michigan, I've got to make this move.

Adam adds Indiana's kickers and drops Nebraska's kickers

Rationale: Like many of my waiver pickups, this one looked pretty good at the time but hasn't paid many dividends. Indiana has received good production from Mitch Ewald in Big Ten play, and I think he'll be a factor in the game against Wisconsin.

Our complete rosters for Week 11:

The Trombone Shorties

Penn State QB Matt McGloin
Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez
Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah
Northwestern RB Venric Mark
Penn State WR Allen Robinson
Nebraska WR Kenny Bell
Minnesota defense
Nebraska kickers

Non-Gingervitis

Ohio State QB Braxton Miller
Northwestern QB Kain Colter
Iowa RB Damon Bullock
Wisconsin RB Montee Ball
Purdue WR Antavian Edison
Indiana WR Cody Latimer
Iowa defense
Iowa kickers

Wrapping up our Big Ten fantasy league

November, 30, 2011
11/30/11
10:15
AM ET
How many times do you see it: a team with nothing much left to play for falling victim to the upset bug at the end of a long season.

That's how I'm explaining Adam's victory in Week 13, the final week in our season-long Big Ten fantasy league. It was a nailbiter, as his Trombone Shorties edged my Non-Gingervitis 132-129. He was helped by Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson's huge 47-point day against Ohio State. Nebraska's Rex Burkhead also added 23 points with his record-breaking day versus Iowa.

My team had strong performances from Wisconsin's Montee Ball (40), the undisputed MVP of our fantasy season, along with Michigan State's B.J. Cunningham (24). But Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg (seven) proved to be a bad pickup, and Illinois receiver A.J. Jenkins (three) continued his fantasy swoon, along with the entire Illini offense.

Despite the weak finish, I still declare the fantasy season to be an unqualified success for Non-Gingervitis. We finished 11-2 against Rittenberg, often in dominating fashion. Add in my regular-season picks crown, and it's been an impressive showing overall for a guy who just started covering the Big Ten in June. (Don't feel too bad, Adam; first-year SEC blogger Edward Aschoff has upstaged veteran Chris Low this year, too).

I'm expecting Rittenberg to hand me my two trophies this weekend in Indianapolis.
Much like Wisconsin fans rue their team's two last-minute losses, I may forever be haunted by Week 9 in my fantasy challenge with Rittenberg.

That's the only week all season that my team, Non-Gingervitis, has lost to Adam's Trombone Shorties. Or else I would be going for a perfect 13-0 record this week, the final week of the fantasy season.

Still, it's hard to find fault with my domination of this game. Last week, I posted my biggest victory of the season with a 142-99 trouncing. The morale of Rittenberg's team is at an all-time low, and he is definitely on the hot seat as head coach. He simply has no way to counter fantasy star Montee Ball, who put up 40 points for me last week. B.J. Cunningham added 25, and the Michigan State defense came through with 22 big points. Adam got 35 from former Non-Ginger star Denard Robinson and 27 from Marvin McNutt but precious little elsewhere.

If there's a fantasy BCS, perhaps it can overlook my one loss and see how I'm finishing the season strong. But there's one more week to go, and I aim to end the year 12-1.

On to our pickups for Week 13:

Adam drops Northwestern WR Jeremy Ebert for Michigan State WR Keshawn Martin

Rationale: Ebert will get his catches, but Michigan State's secondary is strong. Martin has been on fire and should have some big plays against a so-so Wildcats D.

Brian drops Northwestern QB Dan Persa for Iowa QB James Vandenberg:

Rationale: In retrospect, I should have held on to Vandenberg the past couple of weeks instead of picking up the two Northwestern quarterbacks. While Persa certainly could have a big Senior Day, he's facing a stout Michigan State pass defense, and Vandenberg has had a hot hand.

Adam drops Ohio State's defense for Michigan's defense

Rationale: Michigan's season-long improvement on defense has led to this moment, and the Wolverines match up well with Ohio State's ground-based offense. Linemen Mike Martin and Ryan Van Bergen turn in big Senior Day performances for the Maize and Blue.

Brian drops Michigan State's defense for Wisconsin's defense

Rationale: The Spartans have a better defense than Wisconsin, but it's all about the matchups here. Michigan State will be tested on the road by high-scoring Northwestern, while the Badgers are at home in a must-win game against low-scoring Penn State. I'll take those odds.

Our complete rosters for Week 13:

THE TROMBONE SHORTIES

QB: Denard Robinson, Michigan
QB: Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
RB: Le'Veon Bell, Michigan State
RB: Rex Burkhead, Nebraska
WR: Keshawn Martin, Michigan State
WR: Marvin McNutt, Iowa
Defense: Michigan
Kickers: Nebraska

NON-GINGERVITIS

QB: James Vandenberg, Iowa
QB: Taylor Martinez, Nebraska
RB: Montee Ball, Wisconsin
RB: Marcus Coker, Iowa
WR: B.J. Cunningham, Michigan State
WR: A.J. Jenkins, Illinois
Defense: Wisconsin
Kickers: Wisconsin
When you're on a roll, you're on a roll.

I don't quite know how my Big Ten fantasy team, Non-Gingervitis, beat Adam's Trombone Shorties last week. I won by a mere point, 116-115, and that was after a bad decision to drop James Vandenberg for Kain Colter at quarterback. Actually, I do know how I won. My No. 1 overall pick in the draft, Montee Ball, is still paying dividends and gave me 34 points in Week 11. The rest of my team was balanced, with a nice showing from the Michigan State defense (16).

That was just enough to hold off Adam, who got 32 points from Jeremy Ebert and 24 from a near-perfect Russell Wilson but not enough elsewhere. Plus, I'm just better than he is at this, as evidenced by my 10-1 record.

Only two weeks to go in this challenge which hasn't been too challenging for me. I'd like to finish 12-1 and go to the fantasy Rose Bowl (there is such a thing, right?).

On to our pickups for Week 12:

Adam drops Penn State RB Silas Redd for Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell

Rationale: Redd is banged up right now, and his health is a concern heading into a game with Ohio State. Bell looked great against Iowa and should have another big day against an Indiana defense ranked last in the league against the run.

Brian drops Northwestern QB Kain Colter for Northwestern QB Dan Persa

Rationale: I rode the wrong Wildcats horse last week but I'm ready to make that up this week. A healthy Persa is always a good fantasy bet, especially against the shaky Minnesota defense.

Adam drops Ohio State RB Dan Herron for Nebraska RB Rex Burkhead

Rationale: Boom burned me a bit last week, and he faces an even better defensive line Saturday in Penn State. I need consistency and Burkhead brings it to the table. He should have a nice day at the Big House.

Our complete rosters for Week 12:

THE TROMBONE SHORTIES

QB: Denard Robinson, Michigan
QB: Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
RB: Le'Veon Bell, Michigan State
RB: Rex Burkhead, Nebraska
WR: Jeremy Ebert, Northwestern
WR: Marvin McNutt, Iowa
Defense: Ohio State
Kickers: Nebraska

NON-GINGERVITIS

QB: Dan Persa, Northwestern
QB: Taylor Martinez, Nebraska
RB: Montee Ball, Wisconsin
RB: Marcus Coker, Iowa
WR: B.J. Cunningham, Michigan State
WR: A.J. Jenkins, Illinois
Defense: Michigan State
Kickers: Wisconsin
After a week of really bad news from State College, it's time to pause and have a little silly fun. And there's little that's more fun for me than beating Rittenberg in fantasy.

Adam got his first win of the year in Week 9, but I bounced back and improved my record to 9-1 in Week 10 with a 142-125 decision. The anchor of Non-Gingervitis, Montee Ball erupted for a 40-point day in Wisconsin's win over Purdue. Taylor Martinez chipped in 26 points and Marcus Coker added 25.

Rittenberg got a 29-point performance from Russell Wilson, but no one else on his squad scored more than 20.

The season is winding down, and I've been guaranteed a championship here. All that's left is to pad my record, or see if Adam can gain a small measure of pride.

On to this week's pickups:

Adam drops Nebraska RB Rex Burkhead for Penn State RB Silas Redd

Rationale: Two great backs, obviously, but I like Redd going against Nebraska's defense coming off of a bye more than Burkhead facing Penn State's formidable defensive front seven. Redd should be a bit fresher and was consistently effective throughout October.

Brian drops Wisconsin WR Jared Abbrederis for Illinois WR A.J. Jenkins


Abbrederis got a touchdown catch for me last week as a free-agent pickup and could have a nice day against Minnesota. But I'm banking on Jenkins bouncing back for a big game against Michigan after a bye week.

Brian drops Iowa QB James Vandenberg for Northwestern QB Kain Colter

Vandenberg has been really strong, but Michigan State's defense could limit his numbers this week. You have to like Kain against Rice, especially since he can contribute numbers in passing, rushing and receiving.

Our complete rosters for Week 11:

THE TROMBONE SHORTIES

QB: Denard Robinson, Michigan
QB: Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
RB: Silas Redd, Penn State
RB: Dan Herron, Ohio State
WR: Jeremy Ebert, Northwestern
WR: Marvin McNutt, Iowa
Defense: Ohio State
Kickers: Nebraska

NON-GINGERVITIS

QB: Kain Colter, Northwestern
QB: Taylor Martinez, Nebraska
RB: Montee Ball, Wisconsin
RB: Marcus Coker, Iowa
WR: B.J. Cunningham, Michigan State
WR: A.J. Jenkins, Illinois
Defense: Michigan State
Kickers: Wisconsin
My fantasy winning streak over Rittenberg reached eight last week as Non-Gingervitis just refuses to lose.

My team didn't have any superstar performances but got solid days from Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg (27 points), Iowa running back Marcus Coker (25) and Wisconsin running back Montee Ball (25). That was enough for me to eke out a 137-127 win over the Trombone Shorties. Adam continued to show why he wasn't named the Cubs' general manager, getting just five points out of his pickup of Iowa's defense. He did enjoy a huge day from Iowa receiver Marvin McNutt (36 points).

But I'm calling it right now: this is the week Adam finally gets a win. He's going to steal Denard Robinson off the waiver wire (I had to drop Shoelace last week because of the bye), and eight weeks' worth of picking first in the free-agent pool has at long last allowed him to put together a strong roster. But I'll always have these first eight weeks.

On to our picks for Week 9:

Adam drops Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase for Michigan QB Denard Robinson


Rationale: If you can't beat 'em, steal their players. Robinson puts up big fantasy numbers even when he turns it over. Scheelhaase, meanwhile, is in a major slump and faces a good Penn State defense. I'm untying my shoes right now.

Brian drops Nebraska's defense for Penn State's defense

Rationale: The Blackshirts did a nice job last week against Minnesota, even scoring a defensive touchdown. But I'll go back to the Nittany Lions this week as they face a struggling Illinois offense at home.

Adam drops Iowa's defense for Michigan's defense

Rationale: I'm not a believer in Iowa's defense, even against Minnesota. Michigan, meanwhile, will bounce back against a Purdue offense that has been playing better but struggles to stretch the field.

Adam drops Wisconsin WR Nick Toon for Northwestern WR Jeremy Ebert

Rationale: Toon didn't look great last week and faces a solid Ohio State secondary on the road. Ebert, meanwhile, has been putting up big numbers. If he can hang onto the ball, he'll have a nice day against Indiana.

Our complete rosters for Week 9:

THE TROMBONE SHORTIES

QB: Denard Robinson, Michigan
QB: Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
RB: Rex Burkhead, Nebraska
RB: Silas Redd, Penn State
WR: Jeremy Ebert, Northwestern
WR: Marvin McNutt, Iowa
Defense: Michigan
Kickers: Illinois

NON-GINGERVITIS

QB: James Vandenberg, Iowa
QB: Taylor Martinez, Nebraska
RB: Montee Ball, Wisconsin
RB: Marcus Coker, Iowa
WR: B.J. Cunningham, Michigan State
WR: A.J. Jenkins, Illinois
Defense: Penn State
Kickers: Wisconsin
Victory!

Just seven weeks into a 13-week fantasy season, I can declare triumph for Non-Gingervitis. That's because my team has rolled to a 7-0 record to start the season against Adam's hopeless Trombone Shorties.

I thought Adam might finally beat me last week as I had to make a flurry of roster moves to account for the schedule. But I ended up beating him soundly yet again, this time 131-107. Even with off days from my quarterbacks (Denard Robinson had only 18 points, while waiver-wire pickup Dan Persa contributed just 13) and receivers (A.J. Jenkins put up only eight points after starring for the past few weeks), I managed to prevail thanks to huge days from Montee Ball (41 points) and Marcus Coker (25).

Adam, meanwhile, continued to prove that if he picks up one of your players, your team is probably in trouble. His most recent waiver-wire busts included Wisconsin receiver Nick Toon, whom the Badgers announced was injured before the game, and the Illinois kickers, who mustered a lone fantasy point.

So why continue this charade? Well, Adam can still salvage a bit of pride, perhaps. And he could still technically beat me in total fantasy points for the season, though he has a monstrous mountain to climb on that front (I lead 976 to 801). More than anything, it's still fun to try and project which Big Ten players will have big weeks, and of course I will try for a perfect record.

On to our additions for the week, and Adam gets the No. 1 priority yet again:

Adam drops Wisconsin RB James White for Nebraska RB Rex Burkhead

Rationale: Montee Ball is clearly Wisconsin's featured back, and the Badgers face a formidable defensive line in Michigan State. Burkhead, meanwhile, is Nebraska's bell cow and should run all over Minnesota on Saturday.

Brian drops Northwestern QB Dan Persa for Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez

Rationale: Welcome back, T-Magic. I had to drop you last week because of the bye, but now I'm sure you're all rested up and ready to put up some ridiculous numbers against the struggling Gophers this week.

Adam drops Wisconsin's defense for Iowa's defense


Rationale: Nothing against the Badgers' D, but Michigan State showed some life in the run game last week and will be playing at home. Iowa, meanwhile, is getting healthier on defense and faces an Indiana offense struggling with injuries and production right now.

Brian drops Penn State's defense for Nebraska's defense

Rationale: In a vacuum, this makes no sense. Penn State's defense has been lights out all season, while the Blackshirts have been scuffling. But fantasy requires you to take the opponent into account, and the one thing Northwestern can do is score, even against the Nittany Lions. I'll bank on Nebraska having a big day against a pretty bad Minnesota offense.

Brian drops Michigan QB Denard Robinson for Iowa QB James Vandenberg

Rationale: It really pains me to do this, since Adam is likely to scoop up Shoelace on waivers next week after I beat him yet again. But Robinson has a bye, and I want to protect my perfect record as long as possible. Vandenberg gets the shaky Indiana defense this week and then plays Purdue, so at least he should score some points for me.

Our complete rosters for Week 8

THE TROMBONE SHORTIES

QB: Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois
QB: Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
RB: Rex Burkhead, Nebraska
RB: Silas Redd, Penn State
WR: Nick Toon, Wisconsin
WR: Marvin McNutt, Iowa
Defense: Iowa
Kickers: Illinois

NON-GINGERVITIS

QB: James Vandenberg, Iowa
QB: Taylor Martinez, Nebraska
RB: Montee Ball, Wisconsin
RB: Marcus Coker, Iowa
WR: B.J. Cunningham, Michigan State
WR: A.J. Jenkins, Illinois
Defense: Nebraska
Kickers: Wisconsin
Now this is just getting out of hand.

I thought Adam would finally get a victory last week as many of my valuable fantasy players were on a bye week. Instead, Non-Gingervitis recorded its most lopsided victory of the season, outscoring the Trombone Shorties 146-105 to improve to a perfect 6-0.

The 146 points were my second highest-point total of the season, thanks in large part to the 44 points from Denard Robinson and another big 30 points from Illinois receiver A.J. Jenkins. Taylor Martinez added 31 in Nebraska's win against Ohio State, and the Illinois defense that I picked up came through with 17 points. I won easily despite having an idle player (Montee Ball) on my active roster. No way was I going to let him go.

Rittenberg's team got a nice day from Nathan Scheelhaase (34 points), but his habit of getting nothing out of waiver-wire pickups continued, as Michigan's Vincent Smith laid a goose egg. Derek Moye (four points) and Marvin McNutt (seven) were quiet as well.

Since the ESPN.com fantasy college football game lasts only 13 weeks, I can clinch a season title this week with a victory. But there's an omen that portends a possible Rittenberg breakthrough. Trombone Shorty, his team's namesake and the artist whose birthday party Adam and I inadvertently stumbled into during the Sugar Bowl week last year, is holding a concert in my hometown this Sunday. Will Shorty be all smiles this weekend? Or will he have to kiss my ring?

On to our pickups for this week:

Adam drops Northwestern QB Dan Persa for Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson

Rationale: Persa has been pretty solid since his return, but I can't let RussellMania get away, especially this week as the Badgers get Indiana at Camp Randall.

Brian drops Northwestern WR Jeremy Ebert for Michigan State WR B.J. Cunningham

Rationale: We're getting the band back together. Cunningham was a strong member of the team most of the season before last week's bye, and I think he'll get plenty of opportunities against Michigan.

Adam drops Nebraska RB Rex Burkhead for Wisconsin RB James White

Rationale: Burkhead and the Huskers are off (he'll be back soon), and White is due for a big points day as Wisconsin should put up plenty of points and keep the ball on the ground against IU.

Brian drops Illinois RB Donovonn Young for Iowa RB Marcus Coker

Rationale: Young was good but not great as a pick-up for me last week, but now he has to go against the Ohio State defense. I'd much rather wager that Coker breaks out against a shaky Northwestern 'D.'

Adam drops Michigan RB Vincent Smith for Penn State RB Silas Redd

Rationale: I should have kept Redd last week as Smith did nothing. Penn State's offensive line seems to be slowly making strides, and Redd should get a lot of work against Purdue.

Brian drops Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez for Northwestern QB Dan Persa

Rationale: Martinez has been a terrific fantasy performer for me all season, but Nebraska is off this week. And I'm 6-0, so I can take the risk of losing him on the waiver wire next week.

Adam drops Penn State WR Derek Moye for Wisconsin WR Nick Toon

Rationale: Moye is injured, and while the Badgers might not pass a ton against Indiana, the Toon-Wilson connection should click a few times, hopefully for some touchdowns.

Brian drops Illinois' defense for Penn State's defense

Rationale: I shouldn't have doubted the Nittany Lions' defense last week against Iowa. Welcome back, fellas.

Adam drops Nebraska's defense for Wisconsin's defense

Rationale: Going very Badger this week, as you can see, but Wisconsin should keep Indiana in check, especially since the Hoosiers' quarterbacks are a bit banged up.

Brian drops Purdue's kickers for Wisconsin's kickers

Rationale: Another reunion. If nothing else, I know the Badgers will tack on loads of extra points.

Adam drops Nebraska's kickers for Illinois' kickers

Rationale: The Huskers are off this week, and Illinois' Derek Dimke is having another solid season. Dimke should be a big factor in a low-scoring game in Champaign.

Our complete rosters for Week 7:

THE TROMBONE SHORTIES

QB: Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois
QB: Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
RB: James White, Wisconsin
RB: Silas Redd, Penn State
WR: Nick Toon, Wisconsin
WR: Marvin McNutt, Iowa
Defense: Wisconsin
Kickers: Illinois

NON-GINGERVITIS

QB: Denard Robinson, Michigan
QB: Dan Persa, Northwestern
RB: Montee Ball, Wisconsin
RB: Marcus Coker, Iowa
WR: B.J. Cunningham, Michigan State
WR: A.J. Jenkins, Illinois
Defense: Penn State
Kickers: Wisconsin
High five!

My fantasy team, Non-Gingervitis, continued its dominance over Adam's Trombone Shorties for the fifth consecutive time last week. I'm almost starting to feel sorry for Rittenberg -- almost. His team had its highest point total (153) of the season, which would have been enough to win in any of the first four weeks. Nathan Scheelhaase put up 38 points, Russell Wilson had 27 and the Michigan State defense added 20.

Unfortunately for him, my team posted a whopping 171 points, led by Illinois receiver A.J. Jenkins' 44-point explosion versus Northwestern. Montee Ball continued to churn out the points, too, with 39 against Nebraska, and Michigan State receiver B.J. Cunningham chipped in 21.

If Adam is ever going to beat me, it might be this week, as the byes for Wisconsin and Michigan State are playing havoc with both of our rosters. Wise waiver-wire maneuvering is needed this week. Is Rittenberg up to the task?

Our moves for Week 6:

Adam drops Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson for Northwestern QB Dan Persa

Rationale: You'll be back soon, Russell, but you're off this week and I need points. Persa fired four touchdown passes on only 14 attempts at Illinois. Can't pass him up this week.

Brian drops Michigan State WR B.J. Cunningham for Northwestern WR Jeremy Ebert

Rationale: I love what Cunningham has done, but he's on a bye week. Ebert caught three of Persa's touchdowns last week, and this allows me to hijack some of Adam's Persa points if the two continue to hook up in the end zone.

Adam drops Wisconsin WR Nick Toon for Iowa WR Marvin McNutt

Rationale: Like Wilson, Toon will be enjoying the bye week. Fortunately, I'm glad to welcome back one of the Big Ten's most dangerous receivers to the Shorties. I predicted a low-scoring game in Happy Valley, but McNutt will make some plays.

Brian drops Wisconsin RB James White for Illinois RB Donovonn Young

Rationale: The Badgers are getting dropped left and right because of the bye week, and White has taken a backseat to Montee Ball, anyway. I've got a hunch on Young and like what I'm hearing out of Champaign about the freshman. I think he'll find nice running room against Indiana this week. If my hunch fails, hey, I've still got a five-game lead in the standings.

Adam drops Michigan State's defense for Nebraska's defense

Rationale: The Spartans enjoy a well-deserved bye week, so I need to make a move. Let's see, a Nebraska defense coming off of an "embarrassing" performance against Wisconsin and going up against an anemic Ohio State offense at home? Yeah, I'll take one.

Brian drops Penn State's defense for Illinois' defense

Rationale: Nothing against the Nittany Lions, who are playing great. But Iowa's passing attack gives me pause, and I think the Illini will be out to prove something against a shaky Hoosiers offense after giving up 35 points to Northwestern last week. I predict at least a couple of takeaways.

Adam drops Penn State RB Silas Redd for Michigan RB Vincent Smith

Rationale: Smith showed last week he can score touchdowns three different ways. I can't wait forever for Redd and the Penn State offense to break out. Michigan, meanwhile, faces a leaky Northwestern defense.

Brian drops Wisconsin kickers for Purdue kickers

Rationale: Yet another bye-week necessity. The Boilermakers should get plenty of opportunities to score against Minnesota's ragged defense, and I'm counting on Carson Wiggs to deliver me a few three-pointers.

Our full rosters for Week 6:

THE TROMBONE SHORTIES

QB: Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois
QB: Dan Persa, Northwestern
RB: Rex Burkhead, Nebraska
RB: Vincent Smith, Michigan
WR: Derek Moye, Penn State
WR: Marvin McNutt, Iowa
Defense: Nebraska
Kickers: Nebraska

NON-GINGERVITIS

QB: Denard Robinson, Michigan
QB: Taylor Martinez, Nebraska
RB: Montee Ball, Wisconsin
RB: Donovonn Young, Illinois
WR: Jeremy Ebert, Northwestern
WR: A.J. Jenkins, Illinois
Defense: Illinois
Kickers: Purdue

Tracking our B1G fantasy teams: Week 5

September, 29, 2011
9/29/11
5:00
PM ET
I don't want to toot my own horn but ... HONK!

OK, I admit I'm enjoying my early run of dominance over Rittenberg in our Big Ten fantasy league. My team, Non-Gingervitis, is 4-0 after four weeks.

Adam's team, The Trombone Shorties, tied for their second-highest point total of the season last week with 110. Russell Wilson (25 points), Marvin McNutt (22) and the Michigan State defense (21) all had big days for Rittenberg.

Ah, but he was again no match for my team, which rolled up 129 points. Denard Robinson (41 points) continues to be my fantasy MVP, while Montee Ball (22) and the Penn State defense (21) also came through.

Lest I get too cocky, though, we still have an entire league season to get through. The sledding gets tougher going forward.

For the fourth straight week, Adam gets the (dis)honor of picking first on the waiver wire since he lost. Be concerned if he picks a receiver from your team. He added Michigan's Junior Hemingway two weeks ago and Indiana's Duwyce Wilson last week, and they combined for a grand total of zero points.

Here are our moves for Week 5:

Adam drops Wisconsin RB James White for Nebraska RB Rex Burkhead

Rationale: Not a knock on White, who I'm sure will now rush for five TDs, but Burkhead has been far too productive to be left on the sideline. One of us needs him, and I'm beating you to it.

Brian drops Michigan State RB Edwin Baker for White

Rationale: I guess losing does have its privileges, as I would have loved to pick up Burkhead. Baker's been disappointing, fantasy-wise, and I'm not sure how well the Spartans will run against Ohio State. So I'll handcuff White to Montee Ball and hope for a big day by the Badgers on the ground Saturday.

Adam drops Iowa WR Marvin McNutt for Penn State WR Derek Moye

Rationale: Iowa is off and McNutt hopefully will be back on the Shorties in a week, but I need points, and Moye should have a big day in Bloomington.

Adam drops Indiana WR Duwyce Wilson for Wisconsin WR Nick Toon

Rationale: Wilson did nothing last week for me, and while I'm a bit leery of Toon going against Nebraska's Alfonzo Dennard, the Wisconsin senior is having a big year.

The complete rosters for this week:

THE TROMBONE SHORTIES

QB: Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois
QB: Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
RB: Rex Burkhead, Nebraska
RB: Silas Redd, Penn State
WR: Derek Moye, Penn State
WR: Nick Toon, Wisconsin
Defense: Michigan State
Kickers: Nebraska

NON-GINGERVITIS

QB: Denard Robinson, Michigan
QB: Taylor Martinez, Nebraska
RB: Montee Ball, Wisconsin
RB: James White, Wisconsin
WR: B.J. Cunningham, Michigan State
WR: A.J. Jenkins, Illinois
Defense: Penn State
Kickers: Wisconsin

Tracking our B1G fantasy teams, Week 4

September, 22, 2011
9/22/11
3:30
PM ET
All hail Non-Gingervitis!

Yep, I'm feeling pretty good after three weeks of my fantasy Big Ten football challenge contest against Rittenberg. My team improved to 3-0 this week, but we recognize it's a long season and you've got to take them one game at a time.

The Fightin' Non-Gingers actually had their lowest point total of the season in Week 3 (122) but had the biggest margin of victory all season over Adam's Trombone Shorties, who meekly put up just 87 points in a dispiriting effort.

Who's starring for the undefeated team? Denard Robinson (36 points last week) and Taylor Martinez (28) continue to make me look smart for picking running threats as my quarterbacks. First overall pick Montee Ball (24) is a wrecking ball, too.

Meanwhile, Rittenberg had only one player eclipse 20 fantasy points last week (Russell Wilson). His free-agent pickup of Silas Redd (14) was decent, but grabbing Michigan receiver Junior Hemingway on waivers (zero catches, zero fantasy points vs. Eastern Michigan) was a blunder.

There's still plenty of time for Adam to catch up, and the one benefit to his continued losing is he keeps getting the first choice on pickups each week. Sooner or later, that's got to help him, right?

On to our moves for this week:

Adam drops Iowa RB Marcus Coker for Wisconsin RB James White

Rationale: Dropping White burned me (of course) last week against Northern Illinois. The 2010 Big Ten Freshman of the Year will put up huge numbers against FCS South Dakota.

Brian drops Indiana WR Damarlo Belcher for Illinois WR A.J. Jenkins

Rationale: Belcher had a nice first week but has been quiet since. Jenkins is off to a great start and should have plenty of opportunities for points this week against a weak Western Michigan defense.

Adam drops Michigan WR Junior Hemingway for Indiana WR Duwyce Wilson

Rationale: Nothing against Hemingway, but his quarterback is too inconsistent as a passer. Wilson, meanwhile, faces the nation's 117th-rated pass defense in North Texas.

Brian drops Nebraska's defense for Penn State's defense

Rationale: The Blackshirts have been disappointing both in real life and in fantasy thus far. I like the way the Nittany Lions are playing defensively and expect a strong performance against Eastern Michigan.

Adam drops Ohio State's defense for Michigan State's defense

Rationale: The Spartans have looked strong on defense, even for portions of last week's loss to Notre Dame. They'll perform well at home against Central Michigan.

Adam drops Michigan State's kickers for Nebraska's kickers




Rationale: Brett Maher has been flawless this season, and he'll have another big night against Wyoming.

The full rosters for Week 4:

THE TROMBONE SHORTIES

QB: Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois
QB: Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
RB: James White, Wisconsin
RB: Silas Redd, Penn State
WR: Marvin McNutt, Iowa
WR: Duwyce Wilson, Indiana
Defense: Michigan State
Kickers: Nebraska

NON-GINGERVITIS

QB: Denard Robinson, Michigan
QB: Taylor Martinez, Nebraska
RB: Montee Ball, Wisconsin
RB: Edwin Baker, Michigan State
WR: B.J. Cunningham, Michigan State
WR: A.J. Jenkins, Illinois
Defense: Penn State
Kickers: Wisconsin
Thank goodness for Denard Robinson.

I say this not as a Michigan fan but as someone who has Robinson on my Big Ten fantasy team. Robinson's huge fourth quarter helped my squad, Non-Gingervitis, improve to 2-0 over Adam's Trombone Shorties. I eked out a 142-129 victory with the Wolverines quarterback posting a 45-point night against Notre Dame.

Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez also came through again with a 40-pointer against Fresno State. That more than made up for off days from my receivers and defense.

Adam thought he was in good shape earlier in the day, with strong showings from Nathan Scheelhaase (25 points), Russell Wilson (20), Marcus Coker (26) and Da'Jon McKnight (20). But the Shorties just don't have the star power of the Non-Gingers right now.

It's time to make our roster adjustments for Week 3. As always, the losing team from the previous week gets the first waiver priority, so Adam has that (dis)honor once again. Here are our moves for the week:

Adam drops Wisconsin RB James White for Penn State RB Silas Redd




Rationale: I could regret this as Northern Illinois can't stop the run, but Redd will have a big day against Temple as Penn State relies on its ground game.

Brian drops Illinois WR A.J. Jenkins for Michigan State WR B.J. Cunningham

Rationale: Jenkins might have a big day in what looks like a potential shootout against Arizona State. But after watching Notre Dame's corners struggle to contain Michigan's wideouts, I'm thinking the Spartans' all-time leading receiver could find the end zone a couple of times.

Adam drops Minnesota WR Da'Jon McKnight for Michigan WR Junior Hemingway

Rationale: Minnesota's offense worries me, while Hemingway has shown that when healthy, he's a big-play receiver.

Our complete rosters for Week 3:

THE TROMBONE SHORTIES

QB: Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois
QB: Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
RB: Marcus Coker, Iowa
RB: Silas Redd, Penn State
WR: Marvin McNutt, Iowa
WR: Junior Hemingway, Michigan
Defense: Ohio State
Kickers: Michigan State

NON-GINGERVITIS

QB: Denard Robinson, Michigan
QB: Taylor Martinez, Nebraska
RB: Montee Ball, Wisconsin
RB: Edwin Baker, Michigan State
WR: B.J. Cunningham, Michigan State
WR: Damarlo Belcher, Indiana
Defense: Nebraska
Kickers: Wisconsin
I thought as the new guy here, I would have a sharp learning curve in all showdowns with Rittenberg.

But I'm already ahead in our game predictions record after one week, and my Big Ten fantasy team rolled to an easy victory over Ad-Rock in the opening weekend.

It's a long season, though, and I'm trying not to get cocky.

My team, Non-Gingervitis, scored 133 points to Adam's 110 in Week 1. Leading the way for me were Wisconsin running back Montee Ball (36 fantasy points vs. UNLV) and Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez (35 vs. Chattanooga). I also got a nice contribution from my sleeper pick, Indiana receiver Damarlo Belcher (16), which made up for an off week, fantasy-wise, for Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson.

Adam's team, the Trombone Shorties, didn't have any players score 30 points or more. But he did get big weeks from Iowa receiver Marvin McNutt (26) and the Ohio State defense (22). He had to be disappointed with Iowa's Marcus Coker and Penn State receiver Derek Moye scoring only five points each.

Like in any fantasy league, half the battle is in free-agent pickups. We can add and drop players as much as we want in this league. The loser from the previous week gets first pick off the waiver wire, so here are our moves for Week 2.

Adam drops Penn State WR Derek Moye for Minnesota WR Da'Jon McKnight

Rationale: I love me some Moye, but Alabama's secondary is scary good. I like for McKnight to make his way into the end zone a few times against a lousy New Mexico State team.



Brian drops Northwestern WR Jeremy Ebert for Illinois WR A.J. Jenkins

Rationale: Ebert is still a top-flight receiver, but as we saw last week against Boston College, his production dips without Dan Persa. Jenkins had a monster game against Arkansas State and should cause South Dakota State fits this week.

Adam drops Michigan State QB Kirk Cousins for Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson

Rationale: I'll go back to Cousins at some point, but for fantasy points purposes, Wilson does more because of his mobility. He's playing with a ton of confidence and is facing an Oregon State team that has very little.

Our complete rosters for Week 2:

THE TROMBONE SHORTIES

QB: Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois
QB: Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
RB: Marcus Coker, Iowa
RB: James White, Wisconsin
WR: Marvin McNutt, Iowa
WR: Da'Jon McKnight, Minnesota
Defense: Ohio State
Kickers: Michigan State

NON-GINGERVITIS

QB: Denard Robinson, Michigan
QB: Taylor Martinez, Nebraska
RB: Montee Ball, Wisconsin
RB: Edwin Baker, Michigan State
WR:
A.J. Jenkins, Illinois
WR:
Damarlo Belcher, Indiana
Defense: Nebraska
Kickers: Wisconsin

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